Exploring a new river for the first time brings out the best emotions that fly fishing has to offer. Hooking into fish you never thought could exist in that river takes those emotions to an all-time high.

Richie and I had spent the night before tying flies and watching the NCAA March Madness tournament at his cabin in Blue Ridge, GA. Our typical North Carolina fishing destinations would include very productive rivers such as the Nantahala, Tuckasegee or even the South Holston or Watauga Rivers if we make the extra hike into Tennessee. However, we had kept this small stream up near Asheville in the back of our minds and finally decided to pull the trigger.

At first light, we arrived at a lower section of the river and wadered up. The real test was to see if the stream held fish and, if so, could we get them to eat. The water was crystal clear and surroundings were remote, feeling more like New Zealand than North Carolina. We hiked through some pocket water, pulling out a few nice Browns and Rainbows until we decided to walk until we found what would turn out to be “the hole”. Richie had tied up a few dark quill-bodied nymphs that imitated the silhouette of a Caddis emerger and we Czech-nymphed them around a boulder that dropped off into a deep trough. Soon enough, Richie hooked and landed a nice rainbow. Then, I hooked (and quickly broke off) another nice Rainbow. Still in the good part of the hole, the next cast I stuck a nice Brown that had great colors and a tough fight. We netted, photographed and released. I was feeling a mile high until Richie traded places with me.

Only after a few casts did Richie hook into a fish that is directly comparable to “The Beast” from the movie Sandlot. Huge flashes of bright orange took us up and down the river, filling up our waders with water and putting on a circus show for the one man watching from down river. Landing this fish was an incredible moment to be a part of. To see it’s size compared to the size of water was incredible. We knew after that fish that our day on the river was over because nothing could surpass what had just happened. It would be offensive not to say that we were very, very lucky that day.”

Congrats on the monster brownie! For more of his work, check out Charles on Instagram here!